Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Giveaway: The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue (and Leap into Books Hop)

Mapmaker's War2

We have one copy of this soon to be published book The Mapmaker’s War by Ronlyn Domingue for one US or Canadian address.

Here’s a bit about the book:

This will be the map of your heart, old woman. In an ancient time, in a faraway land, a young woman named Aoife is allowed a rare apprenticeship to become her kingdom's mapmaker, tasked with charting the entire domain. Traveling beyond its borders, she finds a secretive people who live in peace, among great wealth. They claim to protect a mythic treasure, one connected to the creation of the world. When Aoife reports their existence to her kingdom, the community is targeted as a threat. Attempting to warn them of imminent danger, Aoife is exiled for treason and finds refuge among the very people who had been declared her enemy. With them, she begins a new life surrounded by kindness, equality, and cooperation. But within herself, Aoife has no peace. She cannot share the grief she feels for the home and children she left behind. She cannot bear the warrior scars of the man she comes to love. And when she gives birth to their gifted daughter, Aoife cannot avoid what the child forces her to confront about her past and its truth. On this most important of journeys, there is no map to guide her. In this tale -- her autobiography -- Aoife reveals her pain and joy, and ultimately her transformation.

The Mapmaker's War is a mesmerizing, utterly original adventure about love and loss and the redemptive power of the human spirit. Watch for its epic sequel, The Chronicle of Secret Riven, in 2014.

Atria Books; Hardcover: 240 pages; March 5, 2013.

Ronlyn Domingue is the author of The Mapmaker's War (Atria Books; March 5, 2013). Its epic sequel is scheduled for 2014. Her critically acclaimed debut novel, The Mercy of Thin Air, was published in ten languages. Her writing has appeared in The Beautiful Anthology (TNB Books), New England Review, Clackamas Literary Review, New Delta Review, The Independent (UK), and Shambhala Sun, as well as on and The Nervous Breakdown. Born and raised in the Deep South, she lives there still with her partner, Todd Bourque, and their cats.

For more information please visit, and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.

leap intobooks

This book giveaway is part of the Leap Into Books Giveaway Hop from February 28th to March 7th. Hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by Jinky is Reading.

You do not need to be a “follower/reader” of Layers of Thought to enter this contest, however you get an extra point if you do. Here are ways to keep up to date:

Ways to “follow”:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed -add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of the below media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates here only reviews.)

This hop and giveaway are now closed. Congratulations to our winner Tabitha J!

Monday, February 25, 2013

Giveaway: A Natural History of Dragons ~ by Marie Brennan

a natural history of Dragons

We have three copies of this just recently published book – A Natural History of Dragons (A Memoir by Lady Trent) ~ by Marie Brennan for US or Canadian addresses.

Here’s the author’s blurb for the book:

You, dear reader, continue at your own risk. It is not for the faint of heart—no more so than the study of dragons itself. But such study offers rewards beyond compare: to stand in a dragon’s presence, even for the briefest of moments—even at the risk of one’s life—is a delight that, once experienced, can never be forgotten. . . .

All the world, from Scirland to the farthest reaches of Eriga, know Isabella, Lady Trent, to be the world’s preeminent dragon naturalist. She is the remarkable woman who brought the study of dragons out of the misty shadows of myth and misunderstanding into the clear light of modern science. But before she became the illustrious figure we know today, there was a bookish young woman whose passion for learning, natural history, and, yes, dragons defied the stifling conventions of her day.

Here at last, in her own words, is the true story of a pioneering spirit who risked her reputation, her prospects, and her fragile flesh and bone to satisfy her scientific curiosity; of how she sought true love and happiness despite her lamentable eccentricities; and of her thrilling expedition to the perilous mountains of Vystrana, where she made the first of many historic discoveries that would change the world forever.

Marie Brennan introduces an enchanting new world in A Natural History of Dragons.

Author Website; Author Twitter

Tor Books; February 2013; Hardcover; 336 pages.

You do not need to be a “follower/reader” of Layers of Thought to enter this contest, however you get an extra point if you do. Here are ways to keep up to date:

Ways to “follow”:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed and add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of these social media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates here only reviews.)

Please fill out the Google form. And remember that your information is used for this contest only. Incomplete names, emails, and addresses will be make your entry VOID.

To fill out the Google form link via this text.

Good luck!

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Giveaway: A Shade of Vampire ~ by Bella Forrest (and YA Paranormal blog hop)

shades of a vampire

We have a giveaway of one signed copy of A Shade of Vampire ~ by Bella Forrest for one international address, and a Young Adult Paranormal Hop where you can potentially win more books of a similar genre.

About A Shade of Vampire:    On the evening of Sofia Claremont's seventeenth birthday, she is sucked into a nightmare from which she cannot wake.

A quiet evening walk along a beach brings her face to face with a dangerous pale creature that craves much more than her blood. She is kidnapped to an island where the sun is eternally forbidden to shine. An island uncharted by any map and ruled by the most powerful vampire coven on the planet. She wakes here as a slave, a captive in chains. Sofia's life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn when she is the one selected out of hundreds of girls to join the harem of Derek Novak, the dark royal Prince. Despite his addiction to power and obsessive thirst for her blood, Sofia soon realizes that the safest place on the island is within his quarters, and she must do all within her power to win him over if she is to survive even one more night.

Will she succeed? ...or is she destined to the same fate that all other girls have met at the hands of the Novaks?

About Bella Forest:   She’s been telling stories pretty much since she could talk. Instead of having her parents read her bed-time stories, she would prefer to share her own made up tales. After growing up she developed a passion for the fantasy genre, but more specifically vampires.

Her debut novel, A Shade of Vampire, was released in December of 2012. It became a #1 Christmas Bestseller in Vampire Romance, Paranormal and Fantasy.


This book is part of the Young Adult Paranormal Giveaway Hop from February 21st – 27th. It’s hosted by I Am a Reader, Not a Writer and YA Between the Lines.


  2. You DO NOT need to be a follower to enter this contests.
  3. If you do follow then you get an extra point.
  4. Fill out the Google form completely or your entry will be VOID.
  5. Please see below for ways to follow Layers of Thought.

Ways to follow:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed and add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of these social media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates only reviews.)

This hop and giveaway are now closed. Congratulations to our winner Zara F!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Giveaway: Blood’s Pride ~ by Evie Manieri

blood's pride

We have one copy of just released - Blood’s Pride ~ by Evie Manieri for one US or Canadian address.

Here’s the author’s blurb for the book:

Rising from their sea-torn ships like vengeful, pale phantoms, the Norlanders laid waste to the Shadar under cover of darkness. They forced the once-peaceful fisher folk into slavery and forged an alliance with their former trading partners, the desert-dwelling Nomas tribe, cutting off any hope of salvation.

Now, two decades after the invasion, a rebellion gathers strength in the dark corridors of the city. A small faction of Shadari have hired the Mongrel, an infamous mercenary, to aid their fledgling uprising—but with her own shadowy ties to the region, she is a frighteningly volatile ally. Has she really come to lead a revolution, or for a more sinister purpose all her own?

This thrilling new epic fantasy is set in a quasi-Medieval Mediterranean region, drawing together the warrior culture of Vikings, the wanderlust of desert nomads, and the oracles of ancient Greece. Evie Manieri's Blood's Pride is an intricate, lush fantasy novel full of taut action, gut-wrenching betrayal, and soaring romance.

Evie Manieri’s Website; Author Facebook; and Author Twitter page links.

Tor Books; 2/19/2013; Hardcover; 528 pages.

You do NOT need to be a “follower/reader” of Layers of Thought to enter this contest, however you get an extra point if you are. Here are a number of ways to keep up to date:

Ways to “follow”:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed and add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of these social media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates here only reviews.)

Also please fill out the Google form which is linked below. And remember that your information is used for this contest only. Incomplete names, emails, and addresses will be make your entry VOID.

To fill out the Google form to enter to win BLOOD’S PRIDE link HERE.

Good luck!

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Guest Post: Keeping it Short ~ by Danielle Ackley-McPhail


We have another informative guest post from Danielle Ackley-McPhail, this time on writing short fiction and understanding the differences between it and a novel. Here she shares some concise advice on how to manage the details.  

Again let’s welcome Danielle!

Keeping it Short – When the Words Count ~ By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

In writing, as in everything else, most of us have a natural range. Some people are right handed, some people left, and just to screw up the curve, some can use either one interchangeably. You have sopranos…tenors…basses, and the rare vocalist who can manage to bounce all along the range. In writing it is a touch simpler.

Some people excel at novels, others at short fiction. (We don’t talk about those who can do either one with ease…they tend to get a lot of dirty looks from the other writers.) Now, just because you have an innate length doesn’t mean you can’t hone your ability to write longer or shorter. It’s all about scope and scale. If you can get a handle on those you can run up and down the word-count range with the best of them, no matter your natural impulses.

Think of a short story as what you see through a telephoto lens. You zoom in right on a narrow image and capture it. You go for the crisp, tight detail and it’s all about that. Short stories capture an instant, a single thread. There are generally only a few characters dealing with one event or goal. The action/tension comes fast and every word leads toward the resolution, with little to no wandering. It is more about what is happening than who it is happening too. Don’t get me wrong…this doesn’t mean you get a free pass on characterization. What it does mean is that in short fiction character details tend to be the type that move the plot forward, whereas in longer works the author has more room to explore the character’s depths for their own sake and not for what they offer toward resolving the plot.

Now, nothing is universal. There are always exceptions, but for the purpose of discussion I have outlined some of the usual differences between short fiction and novels. Just know…if there is a “rule” somewhere, writers will break it…

Short Story


  • Detail relevant to the plot
  • Detail that builds the characters and universe
  • Details relevant to the plot
  • Brief build-up
  • Mostly action/tension leading to the resolution
  • Detailed build-up intermixed with action/tension leading to the resolution
  • Single thread of action
  • Single or minimal POV character
  • Multiple threads of action
  • One or more Primary characters
  • Several secondary characters
  • Scale is equivalent to a scene or an episode
  • Scale is equivalent to a movie or series season.

Establishing Character in Short Fiction

Short stories have a limit. Go past that limit and they are no longer short stories. This is a fundamental fact many writers have trouble grasping (says the editor who has received 15,000-word “short” stories). So, how do you keep the words reined in and still have a distinct, recognizable character? You cherry-pick details. Find one or two elements that make your character unique and introduce them early, then find ways to reinforce those elements throughout the story without going into great details. For example, I have a character named Scotch. He’s a wiseass. Most of the time this does not come into play, but once in a while a natural progression in the dialogue will leave an opening for a smart-ass comment. Scotch never misses an opportunity to jump in. It is always brief and always in relation to what is already happening, but it is enough to set this character off from, Kat, his sarcastic, “straight-man” companion. Now for Kat there are two things I use to distinguish her…at random times the events happening inspire thoughts of her PawPaw that somehow tie into what is happening; and when she is tense, her gun is like her security blanket. Those aren’t a lot to go on when defining who a person is, but they are distinct enough details that you feel you know them and care what happens to them when I keep dealing them blow after blow on the way to the climactic ending.

legacy of stars

Keep Your Eye on the Goal

As a short story writer you have one goal: Keep it short. That means your characters have one goal. Stick to that one goal and you can write a short story. Start pulling in multiple threads and get ready to find beta readers for another novel. In a short story everything that happens should have the express purpose of taking you one step closer to the story’s resolution. Anything that doesn’t do that has to go. Okay…most of everything that doesn’t do that has to go. (Like I said…writers…rules…things are going to break.)

Doing a 180

Not going to spend too much time on this, but I wanted to at least touch on it, because, you know some people have the opposite problem. How do you move past short to novel length? It helps if you think of a novel as a series of short stories all headed in the same direction, only not in an orderly fashion. They jumble together, they touch, they even trample across each other’s paths until threads get tangled, but in the end…if you do your job “write”…it all makes satisfying sense. The difference in a novel is that some of these “stories” are the getting-to-know-you kind, while others are the action-packed rush. The key is that each one builds on the next with all the little sub-threads coming together for an overall goal.

Summing Up

So…have short stories frustrated you in the past? Feel there is always more story to tell, until suddenly you have a book? If you want to keep it short, keep it tight. Ease your way in. Maybe try writing one encapsulated scene. Pick a character. Pick one goal. Pick one conflict. Pick one opponent. Find a twist. Find a solution. Do that over and over. Make it complete. Don’t worry about if it is a full story, just get used to dealing with one goal. Make it interesting, make it intense, either with action or emotion. When you are done, take a look and see what things look like under a microscope. It doesn’t matter if there is more story to tell as long as you resolved the primary objective of your scene. After all, nothing saying you can’t just write another story!

Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s novels include The Eternal Cycle (first three titles link to samples of the books) - Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today’s Promise, the writers guide The Literary Handyman, and more. She edits the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies and Dragon’s Lure, has contributed to numerous anthologies, and has recently published a collection of science fiction short stories called A Legacy of Stars. For more about Danielle link to her sites below:

To read Danielle’s informative first post here at Layers of Thought link to “The Changing Face of Publishing” via its title. It’s about the choices that writers have around getting their books published.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Review: Broken Time ~ by Emily Devenport

Broken Time 3

Review written by Shellie.

Shellie’s quick take:

A fast paced, complex but easy-to-read science fiction romance story that had me quickly turning the pages. It has a believable alien, cool science oriented “time warps”, and a wonderful, strong and likeable female lead. It was nominated for a Philip K. Dick Award and is an unbelievable .99 cents at various ebook retailers. What a deal!

Shellie’s description:

On a distant planet in the distant future, our heroine Siggy Lindquist has grown up on a planet that is much like ours but where trips to other nebulas and galaxies, and other futuristic phenomena are the norm. However, this world is recognizable and Siggy has a life similar to a regular girl (excluding her beautiful and unusual contrast of brown skin and white hair), with her various interests and life events. For example, she is a terrific dancer and believes she is going to marry her childhood sweetheart.

The drama starts when Siggy graduates from high school and her dreams for the future fail unexpectedly; she accepts an undesirable job on a distant planet knowing that this may be her only option of getting away from her heartbreak and earning a living. It’s not by any means a dream job – since Siggy will be doing janitorial work in a maximum security prison/hospital for the criminally insane. That the inmates are the absolute bottom of the heap when it comes to human nature is an understatement; worse yet is that they are brilliant. Get in, get it finished, and get out is her motto. But when the “Director” of the prison requires Siggy to ascertain information from the patients for research, things get a bit more complicated.

Then to twist things nicely there are the aliens called “Speedies” - who do everything that humans can except much faster - who are occasionally attacking the planet. It all creates a story even more wonderfully convoluted than what I have summarized here.

Shellie’s thoughts:broken time - maggy thomas

Emily Devenport is one of those unusual writers who writes complex plots in a way that makes them feel easy to read and simple. Broken Time was one of those books for me. I did not struggle with it or have to re-read any parts because it flowed, yet it’s layered with intriguing plot lines, subplots and themes. The only negative thing I can say about this book is that I could see it easily being a third or more longer; maybe there will be a sequel?

I like science fiction anyway – especially science-based science fiction – and I loved this book. It does help that I also enjoy books with a wonderful strong female character, and Siggy certainly fits the bill; it is also nice to see great science fiction written by a woman. I also love the dark psychological aspects, including the insane yet brilliant inmates that give the book a taste of horror.

That is five big pluses in my opinion, so I cannot recommend this book enough, especially for  those who like science-based science fiction, those who enjoy romance and are perhaps looking to try out the sci-fi genre, and perhaps for fans of Lois McMaster Bujold. It was a 4.5 star read for me. I will definitely be reading more from this author with her accessible but complex writing style.

Emily Devenport  (aka Maggie Thomas and/or Lee Hogan) has written under those three pen names and has been published in the US, the UK, Italy, and Israel. A prolific writer, nine of Emily’s novels have been published as mass market paperbacks by ROC. Now she has begun publishing her books in ebook format. The current publication format for Broken Time is now an ebook and has been released under her current pen name Emily Devenport.  For more information about her and her books you can visit her fun blog at .

Broken time is available on major websites like Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Smashwords. This book is only .99 cents! Here is the Smashwords url:

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

Review: All Standing ~ by Kathryn Miles

All Standing

A review written by John.

John’s quick take:   The Great Famine in Ireland is one of the most shameful episodes in the last 200 years of Western history. All Standing is an accurate retelling of the story of the legendary Jeanie Johnston famine ship, interwoven with a vivid history of the famine and the tale of one family who emigrated to America aboard the Jeanie Johnston to avoid the catastrophe.

John’s description: On the surface, the Great Famine was caused by potato blight that destroyed the crop that a huge proportion of the Irish relied upon – but the underlying causes went much deeper. With an impoverished economy, a booming population, predatory landlords, an enormous number of subsistence farmers with virtually no rights, and an over reliance on a single crop, the famine was a disaster waiting to happen. But the sheer scale and callousness of the disaster are hard to take in.

Before the famine Ireland had a population of around eight million people. Over the seven year years that the famine lasted it is estimated that a million died from starvation or related diseases and another million emigrated, mostly in a desperate bid to escape the horrors at home. Ireland’s population plummeted by some 25%. Unfortunately for the emigrants, conditions aboard the famine ships were often a lot worse than what they were escaping from. Emigrants were treated like cargo and crammed into ships’ holds with hardly any food and no sanitation, and diseases ran rampant. Over a hundred thousand emigrants died on the so-called coffin ships; on many voyages mortality rates were much worse than on slave ships. When the starved and sickly Irish arrived at their destination, they usually had to once again fight abject poverty, not to mention uncaring authorities and rampant racism.

But amidst the horrors one ship became legendary for not losing a single passenger during 16 cross-Atlantic voyages from Ireland to Canada or America. The Jeanie Johnston, based out of Tralee in Ireland, was built by a Scottish craftsman working in Canada, and captained by a professional sailor who carefully picked his crew and cared for his passengers. Unusually this ship had a ship’s doctor – and a very good one at that. Still the voyages were dangerous and the Jeanie Johnson had to rely on its fair share of luck.

On its maiden voyage across the Atlantic, a farmer’s wife by the name of Margaret Reilly gave birth to a baby boy, who the parents named after the ship’s owner, doctor and crew – resulting in the boy having no less than seventeen middle names! Nicholas Johnston Reilly (that’s his short name) and his parents survived the voyage, arrived in Quebec, crossed into America and eventually moved via Indiana and Michigan before settling down in Fergus Falls, Minnesota.

John’s thoughts: Through painstaking research Miles has created a vivid picture of mid-nineteenth century Ireland, the famine, national politics and politicians, local characters involved with the Jeanie Johnston, the ship’s voyages, an emigrant’s life in Canada or America, and the Reilly family story.

While the bare facts are fascinating (not to mention truly horrific), this could so easily have become a dry, documentary history tome, but Miles has avoided that fate and created a really interesting book that is easy to read. In large part she has achieved that by focusing a lot on real people and their stories, which brings the history to life. Cleary that required an awful lot of research and hard work on her part.

Personally I’m still incredulous that the famine was allowed to become as catastrophic as it was – so much could have been prevented or alleviated if it wasn’t for greed, bigotry, inhumanity and neglect. I learnt an awful lot reading this book. Can you believe that in the middle of the famine when a huge portion of the Irish population was starving to death, large amounts of food were still being exported out of the country? Stunning.

It was also interesting to hear about the plight of immigrants arriving in North America, and in particular the racial discrimination that they faced. That’s the second book I’ve read this year which has touched on this theme – the first one being The Spy Lover which told the story of a Chinese immigrant.

I did like the way that Miles weaved in the story of the Reilly family, which served to personalize the big historic picture - though I would say resulted in the narrative jumping around a bit.  Regardless, I’d rate this book four stars and recommend it to anyone with an interest in Irish history, immigration into North America, or nineteenth century history generally. For anyone with even a drop of Irish blood in them, this is thoroughly recommended.

Simon and Schuster -Free Press, January 2013 Hardcover, 256 pages.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Incoming Books: February 5th, 2013

Inner City Cover

We have some great reads in our Incoming Books for February 2013. Please enjoy.

ChiZine Publications

The Inner City ~ by Karen Heuler

Anything is possible: people breed dogs with humans to create a servant class; beneath one great city lies another city, running it surreptitiously; an employee finds that her hair has been stolen by someone intent on getting her job; strange fish fall from trees and birds talk too much; a boy tries to figure out what he can get when the Rapture leaves good stuff behind. Everything is familiar; everything is different. Behind it all, is there some strange kind of design or merely just the chance to adapt? In Karen Heuler’s stories, characters cope with the strange without thinking it’s strange, sometimes invested in what’s going on, sometimes trapped by it, but always finding their own way in.

Trade Paperback; 225 pages; ChiZine.

Eve of Darkness


Eve of Darkness: A Marked Novel ~ by Sylvia Day writing as S.J. Day

Years ago, Evangeline Hollis spent a blistering night with a darkly seductive man she can’t forget. But that evening of addictive pleasure has become a disaster of biblical proportions: She’s been branded with the Mark of Cain.

Now Eve is thrust into a world where sinners are marked and drafted to kill demons. Her former one-night stand, Cain, is now her mentor—and his equally sexy brother Abel is her new boss. And Eve has become the latest point of contention in the oldest case of sibling rivalry in history...

Cursed by God, hunted by demons, desired by Cain and Abel... All in a day's work.

Tor Books; January 2013; Trade Paperback; 368 pages. kalimpura

Kalimpura (#3) ~ by Jay Lake

This sequel to Green and Endurance takes Green back to the city of Kalimpura and the service of the Lily Goddess.

Green is hounded by the gods of Copper Downs and the gods of Kalimpura, who have laid claim to her and her children. She never wanted to be a conduit for the supernatural, but when she killed the Immortal Duke and created the Ox god with the power she released, she came to their notice.

Now she has sworn to retrieve the two girls taken hostage by the Bittern Court, one of Kalimpura’s rival guilds. But the Temple of the Lily Goddess is playing politics with her life.

Tor Books; January 2013; Hardcover; 304 pages.

 imager's battalion Imager’s Battalion: The Imager Portfolio (Volume 6) ~ by L.E. Modesitt Jr.

The sequel to the New York Times bestselling Princeps follows magical hero Quaeryt as he leads history's first Imager fighting force into war. Given the rank of subcommander by his wife's brother, Lord Bhayar, the ruler of Telaryn, Quaeryt joins an invading army into the hostile land of Bovaria, in retaliation for Bovaria's attempted annexation of Telaryn. But Quaeryt has his own agenda in doing Bhayar's bidding: to legitimize Imagers in the hearts and minds of all men, by demonstrating their value as heroes as he leads his battalion into one costly battle after another.

Making matters worse, court intrigues pursue Quaeryt even to the front lines of the conflict, as the Imager's enemies continue to plot against him.

Tor Books; January 2013; Hardcover; 512 pages. glamour in glass

Glamor in Glass ~ by Mary Robinette Kohl

Mary Robinette Kowal stunned readers with her charming first novel Shades of Milk and Honey, a loving tribute to the works of Jane Austen in a world where magic is an everyday occurrence. This magic comes in the form of glamour, which allows talented users to form practically any illusion they can imagine. Shades debuted to great acclaim and left readers eagerly awaiting its sequel. Glamour in Glass follows the lives of beloved main characters Jane and Vincent, with a much deeper vein of drama and intrigue.

In the tumultuous months after Napoleon abdicates his throne, Jane and Vincent go to Belgium for their honeymoon. While there, the deposed emperor escapes his exile in Elba, throwing the continent into turmoil. With no easy way back to England, Jane and Vincent’s concerns turn from enjoying their honeymoon…to escaping it.

Left with no outward salvation, Jane must persevere over her trying personal circumstances and use her glamour to rescue her husband from prison…and hopefully prevent her newly built marriage from getting stranded on the shoals of another country's war.

Tor Books; January 2013; Trade Paperback; 336 pages. Eldritch Conspiracy

The Eldritch Conspiracy ~ by Cat Adams

Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren.  

Not every bride needs a bridesmaid who can double as a bodyguard. But Celia's cousin Adriana is no ordinary bride: she's a Siren princess, and she's marrying the king of a small but politically important European country. She's getting death threats from fanatics who want to see the whole Siren race wiped out—including Celia herself, who is half Siren. Luckily, Celia is on duty when a trip to a bridal salon is interrupted by an assassination attempt, so everyone survives. When Adriana returns to the Siren homeland to try to prevent a coup, Celia is free to hunt for the terrorists and the vile mage who is helping them (while keeping her eyes open for the perfect maid-of-honor dress).

Assuming the bride and groom both live to see their wedding day, this will be one royal wedding no one will ever forget.

Tor Books; January 2013; Trade Paperback; 384 pages.

Kassa Gambit

The Kassa Gambit ~ by M.C. Planck

Centuries after the ecological collapse of Earth, humanity has spread among the stars. Under the governance of the League, our endless need for resources has driven us to colonize hundreds of planets, all of them devoid of other sentient life. Humanity is apparently alone in the universe.

Then comes the sudden, brutal decimation of Kassa, a small farming planet, by a mysterious attacker. The few survivors send out a desperate plea for aid, which is answered by two unlikely rescuers. Prudence Falling is the young captain of a tramp freighter. She and her ragtag crew have been on the run and living job to job for years, eking out a living by making cargo runs that aren’t always entirely legal. Lt. Kyle Daspar is a police officer from the wealthy planet of Altair Prime, working undercover as a double agent against the League. He’s been undercover so long he can't be trusted by anyone—even himself.

While flying rescue missions to extract survivors from the surface of devastated Kassa, they discover what could be the most important artifact in the history of man: an alien spaceship, crashed and abandoned during the attack.

But something tells them there is more to the story. Together, they discover the cruel truth about the destruction of Kassa, and that an imminent alien invasion is the least of humanity’s concerns.

Tor Books; January 2013; Hardcover; 288 pages. Six Gun Tarot

We have an interview with M.C. Planck, and a review by John for The Kassa Gambit.

The Six Gun Tarot ~ by R.S. Belcher

Nevada, 1869: Beyond the pitiless 40-Mile Desert lies Golgotha, a cattle town that hides more than its share of unnatural secrets. The sheriff bears the mark of the noose around his neck; some say he is a dead man whose time has not yet come. His half-human deputy is kin to coyotes. The mayor guards a hoard of mythical treasures. A banker’s wife belongs to a secret order of assassins. And a shady saloon owner, whose fingers are in everyone’s business, may know more about the town’s true origins than he’s letting on.

A haven for the blessed and the damned, Golgotha has known many strange events, but nothing like the primordial darkness stirring in the abandoned silver mine overlooking the town. Bleeding midnight, an ancient evil is spilling into the world, and unless the sheriff and his posse can saddle up in time, Golgotha will have seen its last dawn…and so will all of Creation.

Tor Books; January 2013; Hardcover; 368 pages.

We have a guest post by the author – R.S. Belcher around how he created this steampunk world. nested scrolls

Nested Scrolls ~ by Rudy Rucker

Nested Scrolls reveals the true-life adventures of Rudolf von Bitter “Rudy” Rucker—mathematician, transrealist author, punk rocker, and computer hacker. It begins with a young boy growing up in Louisville, Kentucky, the son of a businessman father who becomes a clergyman, and a mother descended from the philosopher Hegel. His career goals? To explore infinity, popularize the fourth dimension, seek the gnarl, become a beatnik writer, and father a family.

All the while Rudy is reading science fiction and beat poetry, and beginning to write some pretty strange fiction of his own—a blend of Philip K. Dick and hard SF that qualifies him as part of the original circle of writers in the early 1980s that includes Bruce Sterling, William Gibson, John Shirley, and Lewis Shiner, who were the founders of cyberpunk.

Tor Books; December 2012; Trade Paperback; 336 pages. peace

Peace ~ by Gene Wolfe

Originally published in 1975, Peace is a spellbinding, brilliant tour de force of the imagination. The melancholy memoir of Alden Dennis Weer, an embittered old man living out his last days in a small midwestern town, the novel reveals a miraculous dimension as the narrative unfolds. For Weer’s imagination has the power to obliterate time and reshape reality, transcending even death itself. Powerfully moving and uncompromisingly honest, Peace ranks alongside the finest literary works of our time.

Hailed as “one of the literary giants of SF” by the Denver Post, Gene Wolfe has repeatedly won the field’s highest honors, including the Nebula, the Hugo, and the World Fantasy awards. Peace is Gene Wolfe’s first full-length novel, a work that shows the genius that later flourished in such acclaimed works as The Fifth Head of Cerberus and The Book of The New Sun.

Orb Books; December 2012; Trade Paperback; 320 pages.


Redshirts ~ by John Scalzi

Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, with the chance to serve on "Away Missions" alongside the starship’s famous senior officers.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to realize that 1) every Away Mission involves a lethal confrontation with alien forces, 2) the ship’s senior officers always survive these confrontations, and 3) sadly, at least one low-ranking crew member is invariably killed. Unsurprisingly, the savvier crew members belowdecks avoid Away Missions at all costs.

Then Andrew stumbles on information that transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives.

Tor Books; January 2013; Trade Paperback; 320 pages.

Simon and Schuster shattered circle

Shattered Circle (#6) ~ Linda Robertson


It’s tough being a modern woman, but Persephone Alcmedi has it worse than most. Being the prophesied Lustrata has kicked her career as a witch into high gear, and juggling a wærewolf boyfriend who is about to become king of his kind and a seductive vampire who bears her magical Mark isn’t easy either.

Still, Seph’s beloved foster daughter, Beverley, is causing more trouble than these two men put together. The young girl’s been playing with a magical artifact that’s far more dangerous than she realizes. Now Seph must summon help from a mystical being so potent that even vampires fear him . . . and the cost of his aid may be more than she’s willing to pay. Seph, Johnny, and Menessos face threats from all sides—and a few from within. Will the forces of destiny cement their tenuous supernatural union, or shatter it forever?

Pocket Books, January 2013 Mass Market Paperback, 384 pages.


The Bracelet ~ by Roberta Gately

Newly heartbroken and searching for purpose in her life, Abby Monroe is determined to make her mark as a UN worker in one of the world’s most unstable cities: Peshawar, Pakistan. But after witnessing the brutal murder of a woman thrown from a building, she is haunted by the memory of an intricate and sparkling bracelet that adorned the victim’s wrist.

At a local women’s shelter, Abby meets former sex slaves who have miraculously escaped their captors. As she gains the girls’ trust and documents their horrifying accounts of unspeakable pain and betrayal, she joins forces with a dashing New York Times reporter who believes he can incriminate the shadowy leader of the vicious human trafficking ring. Inspired by the women’s remarkable bravery—and the mysterious reappearance of the bracelet— the duo traces evidence that spreads from remote villages of South Asia to the most powerful corners of the West, risking their lives to offer a voice to the countless innocents in bondage.

Gallery Books, November 2012 Trade Paperback, 336 pages.

Various Publishers

silence of bonaventure arrow

The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow ~ by Rita Leganski

Conceived in love and possibility, Bonaventure Arrow didn't make a peep when he was born, and the doctor nearly took him for dead. No one knows that Bonaventure's silence is filled with resonance—a miraculous gift of rarified hearing that encompasses the Universe of Every Single Sound. Growing up in the big house on Christopher Street in Bayou Cymbaline, Bonaventure can hear flowers grow, a thousand shades of blue, and the miniature tempests that rage inside raindrops. He can also hear the gentle voice of his father, William Arrow, shot dead before Bonaventure was born by a mysterious stranger known only as the Wanderer.

Bonaventure's remarkable gift of listening promises salvation to the souls who love him: his beautiful young mother, Dancy, haunted by the death of her husband; his Grand-mère Letice, plagued by grief and a long-buried guilt she locks away in a chapel; and his father, William, whose roaming spirit must fix the wreckage of the past. With the help of Trinidad Prefontaine, a Creole housekeeper endowed with her own special gifts, Bonaventure will find the key to long-buried mysteries and soothe a chorus of family secrets clamoring to be healed.

Harper Paperbacks ; 2/26/2013; Trade PB; Pages: 400. The-Trajectory-of-Dreams

The Trajectory of Dreams ~ by Nicole Wolverton

Ever since she saw the space shuttle disintegrate in front of her eyes at the age of ten,  Lela White has been obsessed. Only she can keep the astronauts safe, even if it means following their every move, breaking into their houses… or even killing them. Working as a sleep lab specialist, she believes that sleep holds the key to keeping the shuttle in the air. When a Russian cosmonaut on loan to the American program finds himself drawn to her, he puts her carefully-constructed world at risk of an explosion as surely as he does his own upcoming launch.

Bitingduck Press; 3/1/2013; Pages: 285.


Handover ~ by Paul Blaney

It’s 1997 and three very different expatriate Britons are living and working in Hong Kong. Sally, a sophisticated, thirty-something magazine editor, finds her life plagued by a ruthless bully. Tess, an idealistic young graduate, embarks on an unlikely office romance. And Rob, the most recently arrived of the three, is haunted by an enigmatic ex-lover.

As the date of the Handover draws closer, and each of the three falls further under the spell of their adopted city, their lives criss-cross and start spinning out of control. July 1st, dawn of the reunification with mainland China, will find one in prison awaiting trial for armed assault, one in disillusion and deep denial, and the third floating face-down in the waters off Macau.

Handover, a vivid, cinematic new novella by Paul Blaney, writer in residence at Rutgers University, peels back the skin of expatriate Hong Kong to uncover vengeance, betrayal, and madness.

Typhoon Media; December 1, 2012; E-book; Word count: 36,000.

Self Published

taxi and bun

Taxi and Bun, and the Pine Valley Werewolf ~ by H. F. Meeske

Taxi and Bun: Is a four-part series about an ordinary seeming girl and a guy, she drives a cab he works sanitation. They are lonely, over weight and dejected until they meet and date.

Over the four books they meet, marry, grow and overcome werewolves on their honeymoon, are asked to track down a vampire cult of Goth murderers, called on to fight Mexican Neo-Aztec cannibal revolutionaries and stumble upon a weird family of billionaire castle dwellers. It is all a romp with lots of odd stuff, weird information and sometimes silly banter but you gotta love this wild gal and her man!From the beginning their passion, and drive enables them - with a little help from pints of Hagen Daz ice cream and extra helpings of gravy - to achieve impossible ends, solve impenetrable mysteries, brave unspeakable terrors and learn to depend on each other's assistance when the chips are down.audrey's guide to witchcraft No matter how tough the going they will never click their heels to go back to Kansas, they have found each other, true love and strange adventures. Whatever the challenge: a serial killer of Latino hookers, a family twisted with greed, passion and jealousies or drug addicted snuff film cultists, they find a way to beat the odds and avenge wrongs.

Word count: 76,000; September 10, 2012. 

Audrey’s Guide to Witchcraft ~ by Jody Gehram

Falling in Love, baking a magical cake, fighting an evil necromancer—it’s all in a day’s work for Audrey Oliver, seventeen-year-old witch-in-training. When her mother goes missing and her twenty-one-year-old witchy cousin shows up out of the blue, Audrey knows something’s gone horribly, dangerously wrong. Now it’s up to her to get her own magical powers up to speed before everyone she loves is destroyed by the sorcerer intricately connected to her mother’s secret past.

295 pages; Magic Genie Books; June 29, 2012.

That’s all folks. Until next month, happy reading.

Monday, February 4, 2013

Giveaway: The Hidden Ones by Nancy Madore (and a Hop too!)


Giveaway for one eBook copy of The Hidden Ones (book one) ~ by Nancy Madore.

This is a historical fantasy for adult readers.

About the book:

As CEO of her own thriving company, Nadia Adeire is flush with success, but a secret society dating back to the Essenes believes her to be one of the ancient djinn—the notorious demoness of Hebrew legend, Lilith. What’s more, they have reason to believe that she’s plotting a catastrophic attack on the world.

Nadia is snatched from her ‘perfect’ life and caught in a maze between a present day disaster and the ancient legends of the djinn. The only way out is to retrace the steps of her deceased grandmother, Helene. The deeper Nadia delves into the past, the harder it will be for her to emerge unscathed. But it’s the only way to stop this impending disaster that was set in motion five thousand years ago!

About the author:

Nancy Madore achieved enormous critical acclaim with her ENCHANTED series, which includes ENCHANTED, ENCHANTED AGAIN and ENCHANTED DREAMS. Now, following her life-long interest in history and mythology, Nancy Madore is launching a new series in the historical and science fiction genres, called LEGACY OF THE WATCHERS. Volume 1 of the series, entitled THE HIDDEN ONES, came out November 2012.

You can read more about THE HIDDEN ONES and the series by visiting Nancy Madore's website at

follower love

This book offering is part of the Follower Love Giveaway Hop from February 5th – 11th. It’s hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and co-hosted by The Reader's Antidote.

The rules are:

  1. It’s an eBook so it’s INTERNATIONAL.
  2. You must be a follower to enter these to contests.
  3. Fill out the Google form completely or your entry will be VOID.
  4. Please see below for ways to follow us at Layers of Thought.

Pick 1 (or more) ways to follow:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed and add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of these social media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates here only reviews.)

This hop and giveaway are now closed. Congratulations to our winner Mark!

Giveaway: The Eldritch Conspiracy ~ by Cat Adams

Eldritch Conspiracy

Giveaway: Two copies of THE ELDRITCH CONSPIRACY (Blood Singer Series #5) ~ by Cat Adams for US, Canadian, and UK addresses.

You DO NOT need to be a follower, however if you do “follow” you will get an extra point in the drawing.

Author’s Blurb:

Celia Graves was once an ordinary human, but those days are long gone. Now she strives to maintain her sanity and her soul while juggling both vampire abilities and the powers of a Siren.

Not every bride needs a bridesmaid who can double as a bodyguard. But Celia's cousin Adriana is no ordinary bride: she's a Siren princess, and she's marrying the king of a small but politically important European country. She's getting death threats from fanatics who want to see the whole Siren race wiped out—including Celia herself, who is half Siren.

Luckily, Celia is on duty when a trip to a bridal salon is interrupted by an assassination attempt, so everyone survives. When Adriana returns to the Siren homeland to try to prevent a coup, Celia is free to hunt for the terrorists and the vile mage who is helping them (while keeping her eyes open for the perfect maid-of-honor dress).

Assuming the bride and groom both live to see their wedding day, this will be one royal wedding no one will ever forget.

CAT ADAMS is the author of the much-lauded Blood Singer series, Blood Song, Siren Song, Demon Song, and The Isis Collar. Adams is the joint pen name of C. T. Adams and Cathy Clamp, who live deep in the heart of Texas. They are USA Today bestselling authors with their Sazi and Thrall series.

You do not need to “follow” to enter this contest. However, if you choose to do so you will receive an extra entry point in the entry increasing your odds to win one of the copies of the books. Here are a few ways you can keep up-to-date: 

Ways to “follow”:

  1. Google: via the blog’s side bar (I will follow back if I can find your blog.)
  2. Facebook: for updates in your feed and add me as a friend.
  3. Your Email Box
  4. Feed Reader
  5. Twitter (I will follow back, for any of these social media sites.)
  6. Google+
  7. Pinterest
  8. Goodreads (Add me as a friend -no giveaway updates here only reviews.)

Please fill out the Google form. And remember that your information is used for this contest only. Incomplete names, emails, and addresses will be make your entry VOID.

This contest is now closed. Congratulations to our winners Sherry and Ronnie!

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Review: The Alienist ~ by Caleb Carr

The Alienist - Caleb Carr

A review written by John D. 

John’s quick take:

An excellent psychological thriller that is woven around many real-life people and events. A terrifying serial killer is stalking a very realistic 1896 New York City - and the only way to catch him is to create a new science of psychological profiling. Imagine Silence of the Lambs set in a time before computers and automobiles, when psychology is mostly regarded as “gobbledygook”.

John’s description:

I rarely read books that have made the bestseller lists, but when I found this in a charity shop for a few cents, I couldn’t resist. It seemed like a mashup of Silence of the Lambs (which is an excellent book) and Jack the Ripper (whose story I’ve always found endlessly fascinating).

It is 1896 and New York City’s police commissioner (a pre-presidential Theodore Roosevelt) is struggling to get to grips with the horrifically brutal murder of a pre-teen male prostitute. It doesn’t help that the local police force is thoroughly corrupt and society isn’t even prepared to accept the existence of such prostitutes. Indeed, most of the establishment is quite happy to maintain a status quo in which it really doesn’t care what happens to the masses of destitute people in the city, many of which are recent immigrants.

Unable to rely on either his own police force or traditional detective methods, Roosevelt turns to Laszlo Kreizler, a friend from University who has become a leader in the much-maligned fledgling science of psychology. In secret Kreizler forms a small team which is tasked with trying to understand, predict and identify the killer. Using a combination of painstaking detective work, analysis and profiling, the team attempts to re-create the killer’s history and to track him down. But they are working under tremendous time pressure, as the killer strikes again and again.

John’s thoughts:

There is so much to like about this book. It has an intriguing storyline, the plot is nicely complex with many twists and turns, the author has constructed an extremely detailed and realistic picture of historic New York City, the characters are well developed and interesting, and the book is exciting and fast-paced. I raced through the 600 pages in double-quick time.

I did particularly like the historic backdrop that Carr created. He has gone to great lengths to develop a detailed and nuanced view of what the city was like at the end of the nineteenth century, including the various strata of society, living conditions, geography, and social and political tensions. In part he does this by building real-life characters and events into his story. A young Theodore Roosevelt is one of the main characters in the story, but along the way we also get introduced to people like J. P. Morgan, Anthony Comstock, the gangster Paul Kelly, and the journalist Jacob Riis.

On top of that solid factual foundation Carr has developed a gripping psychological thriller - Kreizler’s team are up against a terrifically constructed killer. Throughout the book you find out more and more details about him, and even end up with some level of pity for him despite his horrendous crimes. The murders themselves are extremely gruesome, but don’t feel gratuitous in the context of this story.

And why, you might ask, is the book called The Alienist? As the author explains – “prior to the twentieth century, persons suffering from mental illness were thought to be “alienated”, not only from the rest of society but from their own true natures. Those experts who studied mental pathologies were therefore known as alienists”. So the book even has a super-cool title.

I enjoyed this book a lot and rate it a rare 4.5 stars. If you like nice, dark, well-constructed historic thrillers, then you will love this book.

Trade Paperback; Random House; October 24, 2006; Pages: 512 – originally published in 1994.

Although no author’s webpage could be found here is a website which looks informative about the author and his books.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Guest Post: Danielle Ackley-McPhail “The Changing Face of Publishing”


We have an in-depth guest post from author and editor Danielle Ackley-McPhail. Inside this meaty post, Danielle shares with us the available options to writers who would like to see their book(s) published. Let’s welcome her to enlighten us about – the possibilities and pitfalls of publishing.

“The Changing Face of Publishing” ~ By Danielle Ackley-McPhail

It used to be there were two options—yes, just two—for getting published: Trade magazines and a traditional publishing house. Okay…make that two industry-accepted options for getting published. After all, there have always been countless people out there ready to stea…take your money just to put your name on a book.

Needless to say, that has drastically changed in the past twenty-five years. (The part about the publishing options, not the part about plenty of people trying to rip you off.)LitHand_lg

With the advent of the internet authors have many more options for releasing their words to the world. Perhaps—dare I say it?—too many… What was that you said? With all those potential routes, how can you tell the right one for you? Glad you asked! Let’s take a look, shall we?

Vanity Press/Subsidy Publishing – Basically the same thing with just a name upgrade. This has by far been the quickest and easiest way to see your work in print, right along with varying degrees of expensive. It also—in my opinion, the least satisfying. Why? Because no one has recognized the quality of your work. These people will publish anything if you throw enough money at them. And while they are doing it charging you for every step of the publishing process? Wherever they can they get you to do the actual work. But it gets worse. Not only do they charge you buckets of money and put the least amount of effort into producing your book, but some of them in their attempt to put a pretty face on it give you a “contract” and an “advance” and, for the crappy book they put out where you potentially did a good chunk of the work, they write into that contract clauses that trap you as an author from taking the book away and getting it published with a more conventional publisher. One who won’t charge you. Yes, you will have a book to hold up in the end and that book will (presumably) have your name on it. But it is a gamble if you will be proud of that book in the end. And, unfortunately, no matter how well it is put together a certain percentage of the industry professionals out there—publishers, editors, other authors…and even (or especially readers)—are going to automatically assume your book wasn’t good enough to be published conventionally, whether it is or not.

Self-Publishing – Now, before you go into a huff thinking I’m repeating myself with different words…this doesn’t mean quite the same thing it used to. See, places like Amazon and LuLu want you to give them your money one way or the other so they have started facilitating the world’s desire to be published in a more honest manner. They profit from this, but not in the same slimy way that Vanity or Subsidy Press do. Many of these publishing portals are free, with the sites making their money on a portion of the sales. The plus? Creative control. The drawback? Complete creative responsibility. When authors use these portals they go into it knowing they are going to do all of the work, only they don’t have to pay for the privilege. This option takes research and learning about what it takes to actually put together a professional quality book in either ebook or print. Well, that or the money and contacts to pay people to do the parts you aren’t skilled to do. The difference? You keep the proALegacyofStars_lgfits (minus the portal’s fee), you decide what gets done when, and you control the product. Now that also means a heck of a lot of work and a crash course in being a publisher, designer, and marketer all in one. There is also the risk that after all that effort…the book may or may not sell. But you know what…as authors, we all run that risk, no matter what method of publishing we chose.

On-Line – Don’t think its any easier getting published just because the venue isn’t in print. Any reputable on-line magazine, blog, or newsletter that might be a plus in your list of publishing credits is still going to have the same strict quality guidelines…as well as the same crush of submissions. Do your research. Make sure the place has a good reputation professionally and prepare to wait. Well, unless they reject you right away…that happens a lot too, no matter where you submit. Not hearing back right away can often be a good thing if the wait doesn’t kill you. On-line venues are often genre-specific. Some pay, most of them don’t. They also have the drawback of disappearing from time to time as sites go defunct. A plus of this method of publishing? Things sometimes come out quicker and are seen by more people than a print magazine might.

eBook – Just about every publisher does eBooks these days. Small press or conventional, they all realize the money is in the electronics. Why? Well…from a financial standpoint these types of books cost less to produce and don’t come with warehousing fees. You also don’t have to ship them, count them, or throw them away if they don’t sell. The other reason? America and most of the world is going digital. eBooks take up infinitely less room, in theory are cheaper to buy as well, and while not impossible to lose your place, it’s a lot harder for the bookmark to fall out. Know what this trend means for you as an author? eBooks make your titles more accessible to the public, and also more attractive to a reader who might not be familiar with your work. They’ll take their chances on a $5 (or free) eBook, when they might not fork out the price for a print book of a new author. Of course, virtually every eBook reader is proprietary and if your publisher doesn’t know what they are doing, the formats get glitchy, which ironically ends up reflecting poorly on the book and the author, rather than the publisher. The other drawback of eBook-only publishers…no physical product to sell at author events or to autograph for a fan.

Small Press – These have always been around. Actually, this is how publishing started out. But as with all things that begin small, they grew big until people forgot that was where it all began. With the advent of electronic publishing the small or niche publisher has had a resurgence. They don’t have the resource of a publishing conglomerate, but they also don’t have the same restrictions either. Small press can publish what they are interested in, whether or not the current market agrees. They also have the added benefit that titles they publish usually remain in print as long as the publisher remains in business, rather than going out of print if they happen to drop below a certain sales threshold. With small press you have to do your research, though. Well…with ANY publisher you have to do your research, but more so with small press. First you have to make sure they operate professionally (you know, responding to emails, keeping schedules…oh…paying their authors…that kind of thing). You also have to search to see if there are any legitimate complaints about them. Meaning the information comes from a reputable source and is supported by other accounts. You need to make sure they are a good fit for what you publish and what the quality of their finished product is. You also want to check the visibility of their products in the market place. Are their titles on the major bookYestrdDreams_lg seller sites? Are the entries complete? Do they have a reasonable sales rank and/or reviews? All of these are indicators if a particular publisher is or is not a good gamble. (Yes, I most definitely meant to say gamble.) Another thing about small press, authors tend to get more creative input in the final product. Sometimes this is a good thing…sometimes NOT. In either case, often production values will be a mark down from what a traditional publisher would produce simply because small press does not have the same resources or access to design talent that a publisher with a dedicated staff does. They also don’t generally have the resources for things like advances. What they definitely do have is flexibility, a passion for what they do, and a vested interest in working with their authors to help titles succeed. There are no guarantees, but you definitely have a more informal relationship with small press that can work in your favor over the long term.

Traditional Publishers – Visibility. Experience. Connections. For the most part this is what a traditional publisher has to offer you right now. They don’t cater to their authors as they did in the bygone days. Very few talents get special treatment or even a piece of the promotional budget. However, if you have the patience and determination to pursue a traditional publisher you will get on bookstore shelves…at least for a little while, and you will be touted at book fairs and will find it easier to get reviews, schedule author events, and exposure to a larger potential audience. However, you get little say in the design of your cover, you will definitely have to invest the same amount of time a small-press author does promoting your work, and you are more likely to go out of print or to have subsequent books canceled if your initial title does not meet expected sales goals. This is where the advance can bite you hard in the butt…if you don’t make it back in sales for your publisher it is awful hard to negotiate future books. There is a prestige in being with a traditional publisher, and as mentioned, certainly higher visibility, but not nearly the perks their used to be. And rarely, if ever, are they flexible when it comes to taking a chance on books that might not fit the current or projected market trends.

So…there you have it. The various publishing options you as an author have before you. Dizzying, isn’t it? Really, in the end, what it comes down to is what feels right for you? Any method you chose is going to have drawbacks, just as any of them will have benefits as well. What is most important to you? Having a say in how your book is produced? Getting onto the book shelves in a brick-and-mortar bookstore? The satisfaction of your name in print? Be wise…research, have terms and procedures explained to you no matter what method of publishing you pursue. And remember…it is a gamble, but you can hedge your bets by putting in the time and effort to make your book a success. For most of us it’s a marathon, not a sprint, no matter how much we wish otherwise. And remember, there is nothing saying you can’t use all of the above. The right place for the right project. The best advise I can give you is to be open to the possibilities…and be aware of the potential pitfalls.

Very clear and informative; thank you Danielle!

Stay tuned, because coming soon we have yet another great post from this author. It’s about writing short fiction.

Danielle Ackley-McPhail’s novels include The Eternal Cycle (first three titles link to samples of the books) - Yesterday's Dreams, Tomorrow's Memories, Today’s Promise, the writers guide The Literary Handyman, and more. She edits the Bad-Ass Faeries anthologies and Dragon’s Lure, has contributed to numerous anthologies, and has recently published a collection of science fiction short stories called A Legacy of Stars. For more about Danielle link to her sites below:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...